Prof. Thomas E. Lovejoy, an innovative and accomplished conservation biologist who coined the term “biological diversity,” delivered the 2017 Pardee Center Distinguished Lecture at the Metcalf Trustee Center on March 28, an event sponsored by the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future.
Speaking before a crowd of approximately 60 people (in addition to those watching the live webcast), Lovejoy began by explaining the scientific consensus on climate change. He gave an extensive overview of the impacts of rising temperatures, sea levels, and ocean acidity on several individual species of plants and animals. He explained that global climate change will not cause entire ecosystems to move, but rather cause individual species to move in different directions and at different paces, resulting in entire ecosystems disassembling and reassembling in unpredictable ways and leading to catastrophic biodiversity loss.
Lovejoy argued that we need to take the extent of climate change more seriously, refusing to settle for a goal of 2 degrees C of warming above pre-industrial levels. He advocated several steps to take, including reforestation, restoring grasslands, improving agricultural intensification, and modifying diets.
The full video of the lecture and discussion can be viewed above.